Hey guys! Every month, I like to post something about either our designs/collections or custom designs we do for clients but today I'm gonna switch it up. In the past few months, we've seen some awesome growth; as much as it can be hard for me to talk about myself, I think it's a good time to share my story (if you haven't heard it already) because it's how this whole thing started in the first place. I hope that by reading my story, you're able to connect more deeply with the brand and the mission.

Photo by Jess Epstein Photography

I'm often asked why we are called Thirteen Fit Apparel. Well, I was born on Friday, the 13th...oh no! Bad luck. In my parents' case, it was good luck--because I was born! But it was good luck for me, too. The number 13 has popped into my life so often and always in a positive way. I truly believe the reason it is "lucky" is because I BELIEVE it's lucky. I manifest it. Our minds are powerful and I believe we all have some control. Energy is powerful. I'm not saying we can control everything with our minds--and hey, let's be real, there are times when we feel hopeless or powerless--but I think there's something to be said for a positive mindset.

Growing up, I was not an athlete. I was active, sure, but I didn't play sports (except the few rec teams I joined and quit when I was in middle school). I spent most of my childhood more interested in the arts. I knew I wanted to do something artistic (interior design, art teacher, fashion, etc...) but wasn't always quite sure what until I got into high school. Then, I was dead set on being a fashion designer and studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

High school was difficult for me. I struggled with depression and anxiety. I was 15/16/17 years old, experimenting with alcohol and pot (as most teens did) but I also started cutting myself regularly to release the pain. After some time of that, my parents caught me and I was put into therapy. At that point, all my "best friends" all faded out of my life. They stopped hanging out with me and eventually stopped talking to me. I couldn't party anymore so they drifted away.

Long story short, I found my way into F.I.T., studied fashion design, graduated with a 4.0 (not-so-humble brag), started working in the fashion industry in the luxury market. Throughout my years in school, I was up and down with my depression and anxiety. I was cutting much less and wasn't drinking much at all due to the intense workload.

At the end of my college career, I started getting into fitness. It all started with a 2 mile run in Florida with my cousin Danielle. I had a very difficult time running (I couldn't run more than 1/8 of a mile without stopping) but I forced myself to run every day for that week and by the end, I ran the 2 miles straight.

I came home and didn't want to give up all the work I had done on vacation so I continued to run 1 or 2 miles a day. I remember coming home one night from either school or my internship feeling particularly down and decided to go for a run. I ran hard. At the end of the run, I felt so relieved. It was the same release I was getting from self-mutilation and it was definitely a turning point for me. I had found a new way to cope with all the things I was feeling.

Running a mile or 2 turned into running the stairs with weights strapped to my ankles. That turned into doing workout DVD's like Jillian Michaels and P90x in the living room with my roommate, Stacie. It snowballed into learning about nutrition, I tried juice cleanses, I started eating veggies (yes, started. Previously, I lived on PBJ and chicken nuggets), I read books and books on health and wellness, I watched documentaries, on weekends I would hop from health food store to the next. Fully obsessed. Eventually, I joined a gym, started lifting weights heavier than the 8lb dumbbells I had at home for my DVD's, and tried indoor cycling.

The stronger I felt physically, the stronger I felt mentally. I was learning to gain some control over my emotions or at least finding a way to cope with them. The stronger I felt mentally, the further I could push myself physically. It became a cycle.

That's when I joined CrossFit and found even more strength... power... stability. From the inside out.

I decided to enter the fitness industry and started teaching indoor cycling in 2015. What the gym did for me, I wanted to do for others. And later that year, I launched Thirteen Fit Apparel for the same reason.

Charity ride at Flywheel Sports for The Movemeant Foundation

The mental and physical strength, will power, drive, confidence, and solace I found at the gym has completely changed my life. I'm still the spazzy, creative, anxious Paige I've always been BUT I've also evolved so much from the self-mutilating, depressed, and unsure Paige I was desperate to leave behind. Just for the record, I don't want it to seem like I'm painting this new, picture perfect mentality. I'm still on my journey and learning everyday. I am up and down but relentlessly working to be my best internally and externally. 

Our concept is all about the journey to your Ultimate Self, whatever that may mean to you. Our past is what makes us who we are now and we are just out here tryna be the best that we can. I’ve learned that our path, journey, story—whatever you want to call it—towards our Ultimate Self is this combo of mental and physical strength, power, and stability and THAT’S why I speaaaaak about these elements all the time. It’s the core of it all. In my personal case, a stronger (and more stable and more powerful) body built a stronger mind... and once my mind got stronger, I was able to push my body more. It’s a cycle that just keeps going and I just keep growing. Own your journey, outfit your journey. THIS IS THIRTEEN FIT APPAREL.

If you want a more painfully detailed story, click HERE to read the story I posted for our Thirteen Journeys campaign last year.

Til next time,

Paige Festa

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